Sunday, November 28, 2021

OBAMA'S LEGACY RETURNS: UN Envoy to Afghanistan Says ISIS Now Present in ‘Nearly All’ Provinces

Source: Washington Examiner

Published: November 18, 2021

By: Mike Brest

The United Nations envoy to Afghanistan gave a significant update on the Islamic State’s expansion within the country.

Special Representative Deborah Lyons told the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday that ISIS-Khorasan , the Afghanistan affiliate of the terrorist organization, had once been in a handful of provinces but are now in almost all of them.

“Once limited to a few provinces and the capital, ISKP now seems to be present in nearly all provinces, and increasingly active," Lyons said, according to Reuters , before noting that the number of ISIS attacks had increased by more than 500% from this year compared to last.

She said there had been 334 ISIS attacks this year, compared to only 60 last year, the big difference being the U.S. military’s withdrawal at the end of August after spending nearly 20 years fighting in Afghanistan .

The Taliban now lead the country and have been doing so since mid-August, when they were able to overthrow Ashraf Ghani's government and military, despite the incumbent government having the backing of the U.S. military. The Taliban and ISIS are strong enemies and have fought since America's withdrawal, though there are also concerns from Western countries that the Taliban could provide a safe harbor for ISIS and other terrorist groups to thrive.

The Taliban "appears to rely heavily on extrajudicial detentions and killings" of ISIS-K members in order to prevent their continued growth, Lyons said, noting that they seem to be making "genuine efforts to present itself as a government."

The United States is hoping the Taliban can successfully fight off the Islamic State.

“We want the Taliban to succeed against ISIS-K,” State Department Special Representative Thomas West told reporters earlier this month. “When it comes to other groups, look, al Qaeda continues to have a presence in Afghanistan that we are very concerned about, and that is an issue of ongoing concern for us in our dialogue with the Taliban.”

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